The Constitution and the Statutes

of the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation

Established by the General Chapter


Section III: Norms for the Congregation

B. Of the Abbot President

C70 1) Every six years the general chapter shall elect a president from among the governing abbots or the resigned abbots. The election of the abbot president does not require confirmation.

2) The abbot president's tenure of office is limited to two successive terms of six years each

S70 The abbot president is to be concerned primarily with the welfare of the whole Congregation, but he is also to interest himself in its relation with the Benedictine Confederation (LP 32-35) and with other monastic congregations.

C71 1) The abbot president has all the powers, faculties, and duties which, by universal law, are those of the supreme moderators of clerical religious institutes of pontifical right, without prejudice to the right of the other abbots to exercise those of the powers, faculties, and duties aforementioned which by the proper law of the Congregation or by universal law are assigned to the abbot of each autonomous house.

2) The abbot president is also, as president, a major superior (CIC 620) and ordinary of the Congregation. Over the autonomous houses of the Congregation, their abbots, and the individual monks subject to those abbots his ordinary executive power as major superior is limited, however, to that required for the performance of his chief duties as president.

C72 The chief duties of the abbot president of this Congregation are:

#1- To convoke the general chapter, both ordinary and extraordinary, and to preside at it; to propose what is to be acted upon in general chapter, after previous deliberation with his council, and to publish the decrees of the chapter;

#2- To see that the decrees and decisions of the general chapter are implemented;

#3- To convoke meetings of his council and to preside over them;

#4- To decide with his council all matters which can neither be settled properly by the individual abbots nor be postponed until the next general chapter;

#5- To act as judge of first instance in a dispute between two autonomous houses of the Congregation (CIC 1427.2), unless one of the parties to the dispute is the monastery of the president, in which case the judge of first instance is the abbot senior by election to the council;

#6- To submit petitions to the Apostolic See in the name of the Congregation and for the Congregation;

#7- Having heard his council, to appoint a procurator general who will care for the Congregation's affairs with the Apostolic See;

#8- To appoint an archivist for the Congregation;

#9- To keep in his custody the seal of the Congregation, which he will affix to documents of major importance;

#10- To maintain a file of all documents and correspondence pertaining to the Congregation; at the end of his term of office to send the current papers to his successor, and the papers related to past transactions to the archives of the Congregation through his successor;

#11- To take care that all noteworthy matters affecting the entire Congregation be recorded, and be reported to the general chapter, if need be;

#12- To send to the Apostolic See a documentary report, signed by himself and by his council, on the state of the monasteries of the Congregation, whenever that is required (CIC 592.1);

#13- To collect the required subsidies from the monasteries of the Congregation, to administer the funds of the Congregation, and in each general chapter to present a financial statement of that administration;

#14- To make the ordinary visitations of the autonomous monasteries and, having heard his council, to make an extraordinary visitation of any of them; to delegate the powers of a canonical visitator, by the very act of appointing an abbot or a monk to that duty;

#15- To receive recourses and appeals, which may be addressed to him freely by monks of the Congregation (C 75; S 84);

#16- To correct serious abuses and grave faults which the superior of a monastery fails to amend;

#17- To exempt a community temporarily from observing a particular disciplinary provision of the Constitution or of the Statutes;

#18- To preside at the election of an abbot or a conventual prior and to confirm it, except in the case for which provision is made in C 61; to admit or reject a postulation if the impediment to election is one from which he can dispense (S 20); to choose and appoint an administrator according to the norms of C 15 and S 15 or of C 17.3 and S 18 when it is expedient to prolong a vacancy of abbatial office;

#19- With the consent of his council, to accept the resignation of an abbot or of a conventual prior, or to remove an abbot or a conventual prior from office, if the welfare of the abbot or prior's community requires such an intervention (S 25);

#20- To dispense a temporarily professed monk from his vows (CIC 688.2), with the consent of the monk's abbot and that abbot's council;

#21- To grant an indult of exclaustration to a perpetually professed monk, with the consent of the monk's abbot and that abbot's council, for a first period, which may not exceed three years (CIC 686.1);

#22- Having heard his council, to interpret a doubtful point in the Constitution or in the Statutes, the interpretation being valid until the next general chapter;

#23- To reduce Mass obligations according to the norms of CIC 1308.3-5.

S71 1) The expenses which the abbot president incurs in the name of the Congregation are to be met from a fund sustained by a tax upon all the monasteries of the Congregation. This tax is to be proportionate to the number of perpetually professed monks of each monastery.

2) The abbot president shall present annually to his council, and triennially to the general chapter, an account of the Congregation's revenues and expenditures.

3) Since the Congregation as such possess no goods other than the congregational fund which is at the abbot president's disposal, the abbot president himself may function as the financial officer of the Congregation.

4) The abbot president may engage a secretary.

C73 1) If the abbot president resigns his office, or is canonically impeded from functioning any longer as abbot president, or dies, all of his duties and rights, until the next general chapter, pass to the abbot senior by election to the abbot president's council.

2) If the abbot president wishes to resign, his resignation shall be tendered to the abbot senior by election to the abbot president's council who, having heard the other councilors, will accept or reject the resignation.



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Rev. 08 Apr 2009 |